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Aestivation provides flexible mechanisms for survival of stream drying in a larval trichopteran (Leptoceridae)

Wickson, S., Chester, E.T. and Robson, B.J. (2012) Aestivation provides flexible mechanisms for survival of stream drying in a larval trichopteran (Leptoceridae). Marine and Freshwater Research, 63 (9). pp. 821-826.

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Some freshwater species aestivate to resist drying; however, little is known about factors affecting post-aestivation survival. Climate change prolongs drying and may make short bursts of flow more frequent in southern Australian streams, thereby affecting aestivation success. The tolerance of larval Lectrides varians (Mosley) to drying was tested by inducing aestivation in dry or moist sediment and then re-immersing larvae and measuring survival and activity. Survival did not differ between individuals that were continually immersed (78%) or aestivating on moist sediment (70.5%) after 16 weeks. Survival was significantly lower on dry sediment (29.3%). Furthermore, some larvae showed delayed responses to re-immersion; 65% of individuals showed activity within 4.5h, whereas over 30% of larvae did not become active until 72h after re-immersion. L. varians can survive extended periods (112 days) without surface water, showing a bimodal response to re-immersion that increases the likelihood of population persistence by enabling some larvae to remain aestivating during short-lived bursts of stream flow. L. varians populations will therefore be more robust to prolonged stream drying and short-lived flow events than are some other insect taxa, although as the duration of aestivation increases larval survivorship decreases, suggesting that there are limits to the flexibility of aestivation traits.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 2012
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